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Bomb scare at Laguna Phuket



CHERNG TALAY, PHUKET: A loud boom reported at Laguna Phuket this morning was caused by security officials who blasted a suspicious motorbike with high-pressure water from a fire hose.

Reuters news agency reported that a ‘loud blast’ of unknown origin was heard by witnesses.

A source at Laguna Phuket confirmed that security officers at the resort found a suspicious motorbike parked near the Laguna Holiday Club, less than a kilometer away from the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is this morning conducting a media briefing at the Sheraton as part of the Asean Regional Forum talks.

Investigators have yet to reveal what aroused suspicion, but the military have confirmed no explosives were recovered, the source at Laguna Phuket said.

As a precaution, the military blocked all access to the area from about 9am to 10am, while explosives experts arrived and decided how to proceed.

The way the military handled the situation was very methodical and professional, the source said.

Somewhat ironically, the impact of the spray was probably the source of the reported ‘blast’, the source said.

The roads have since been re-opened and everything is back to normal.

Cherng Talay Police Superintendent Witoon Kongsudjai told the Gazette, “It was nothing. We just found an unidentified object on the seat of a motorbike parked near the Laguna Holiday Club, so we sprayed it with water.”

Today’s bomb scare wasn’t the first to impact the Asean meetings.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on Tuesday canceled a planned trip to Ao Por pier in Pa Khlok after security staff there found what they suspected was a truck loaded with bombs.

While checking the car park before Mr Suthep’s visit, the security team’s bomb detection devices, including new Alpha 6 detectors, reacted to a pickup truck parked in the car park, indicating it contained explosives.

Mr Suthep, in Phuket to oversee security measures in place for the Asean-led talks, was immediately informed and canceled his visit.

Police converged on the car park but were hesitant to break into the Bangkok-registered truck until its owner, Usen Ya-ood, returned just after 5pm.

Mr Usen told police he was a water engineer and had recently taken a job on Koh Naka, just off the coast of Phuket.

He parked his truck in the car park each day and caught a boat across to the island, he said.

The bomb detection squad and sniffer dogs inspected Mr Usen’s pickup truck, but found no evidence of explosives, bomb-making materials or narcotics.

A policeman at the scene said traces of an unnamed substance on the man’s car could have triggered the bomb detection devices.

— Gazette Reporters


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